Lenice Mallaby (nee Reed)

Lenice Mallaby

Co-Ordination / Production

1967 - 1973

Crawford Productions was my introduction to the world...and what an education!!! I started in 1967 as a sixteen-year old...Little did I know (and I knew nothing then), what an adventure I was embarking upon. I had just left business college, and totally naive to just about everything, I entered those magnificent golden gates, having been sent for an interview by my staffing agency. After the awesome experience of an interview with Bob Pascoe, I began working with Marjorie Keen, totally unaware that the company I was employed by was a television production company. (Bob failed to mention that.) It wasn't until about a month after having been enclosed in a cell-like room (bars on the windows and all!), and a level of asphyxiation known only to those who worked closely with Marj (bless her), that I was transferred to Homicide Production to be trained as a Co-ordinator and I finally learned the truth. My first question, when sat down to learn how to put together a rehearsal schedule was.."What are we rehearsing??"

A year or two of co-ordination working with Sophie Neef, Helen Rolland, and the raucous and hilarious Casting office next door, with the lovely Rita Tanno and "Boobs" Donovan holding court daily, and I was transported away to the "top office" where Kaye Rowe then trained me to take over her position as Production Assistant. Here I managed to work in studio, as well as Ian Crawford's secretary (and occasional baby-sitter). In between the antics of David Lee, JJ, and Rod Hardy popping in and out of Ian's office on a regular basis, it was just a beautiful madcap mayhem, but somehow the show went to air each week without fail, and I revelled in it.

After some years I left to spread my wings a little when I joined HSV7 as Prod. Asst. to Joe Latona on the Mike Walsh Show (then a live-to-air Tonight show)..Talk about jumping from the fyingpan into the fire...Joe, John Michael Howson, Mike Walsh, Sue Donovan, Rosie Sturgess, a bunch of feisty dancers and many other colourful characters were my organisational responsibility for about a year before the show folded.

A call from Crawfords to return in the role of trainer for new Co-ordinators was accepted without a second thought. I trained co-ordinators for Division 4 and also worked as co-ordinator on Matlock Police. Last of the Australians was another show I worked on. At one point, having worked with casting a bit and trained with Natalie Raine in drama, I took on a couple of small roles in Div 4 and Matlock. This eventually led (sometime later) to my accepting the lead in an ABC kids series called "Frank and Franscesca"... this was great fun, I had a ball...unfortunately, my association with George, which later developed into a relationship, dictated that I discontinue furthering an acting career. One actor in the family was enough!! Oh well, it was meant to be, I guess, because my greatest achievement was to become the extremely proud mother of two beautiful boys and step-mum to lovely Kirsti who reminds me daily of my life with George (passed away July 12, 2004). George and I married in 1975, when I discontinued permanent employment in the TV industry and we travelled overseas, returning 18 months later when George was approached to star in  Cop Shop . Thank God for Crawfords, was my first thought...I was just a bit over starving AND freezing half to death in London while George knocked on stage doors, and I worked temp. secretary stuff.

Our return to Australia was terrific, and George worked well with the show until about 1979/80 when he suffered the first of a series of heart problems. These continued to plague him for another decade or more when he suffered a debilitating stroke which ended his career, or any other form of vocation for that matter. After 5 years of caring for George at home, Kirsti, George's daughter, (a very smart girl) suggested we move to the Gold Coast where she and new hubby were living. We talked about this and agreed the weather would be much better for George, and he would also go into a care centre, giving me a much needed rest. I still had to find work though, as we had no money or investments, and the TV industry had not long introduced compulsory super..so we didn't have any of that either. So back to work I went...and, it was through my old Crawford pal and good friend Stottie, that I was able to re-enter the film industry on the Gold Coast. 2001 I worked with Stottie on the "Scoobie Doo" movie, followed by about 18 months working with Darryl Sheen (another sadly missed friend and old Crawford compatriate from the early 70's) on a number of Coote Hayes Productions. George and I had such a wonderful time up there in the sun, where, through contact with cast and crews, we caught up with so many much-loved ex-Crawford-ites who had started their now much more illustrious careers 35 or more years earlier, having entered those hallowed Golden Gates as mere children..."Snoddy" Dewhurst, David Eggby, Colin Budds, Dan Burstall, Stottie, Julie Miller, Rod Mullinar...the credit list just keeps rolling...we caught up with them all. We had some great laughs and reminiscences...it was like food for the soul when I think back at how much we both enjoyed it all.. Thanks so much to you all, and particularly to those who took the time to spend it with George and I during that time. I cannot think of a nicer way for George (and I) to have spent his last couple of years thinking back over and sharing and laughing with those who had been there with us both almost 4 decades before.

For me, as I said in the beginning, it was an education, it was an adventure and it was a lifetime I will be eternally grateful for and I will never forget. They were, indeed, "THE DAYS!"

Much love, my friends,
Lenice Mallaby

10th Feb 2006